From Our Aug. 31, 2022 Newsletter
Hi Everybody --
Recently an online columnist asked on our behalf, when we were not included in a regional list of “favorite bookstores”: Where is East Bay Booksellers? I joked at the time that such a question would make for a wonderful bookstore slogan.
As someone with a philosophical disposition, it’s easy for me to over-think such things. Soon I'm asking, “What is East Bay Booksellers,” and then “How,” and, oh no, “Why?” (One need only click our website’s About and Store Philosophy links for proof.)
This is especially true when, as is the case in September, we’re celebrating our fifth-year anniversary!
When we made the formal transition on September 1, 2017, one of our immediate challenges was situating ourselves with respect to the significant shadow cast by our past. We were, after all, carrying on a legacy that was important to so many (myself included) that we honor. I felt that if we succeeded in doing that, though, a distinct identity would inevitably emerge on the heels of arguably less important things like a new name or ownership.
If there have been any significant changes in the store since then, I hope they have emerged by way of a core feature of our institutional DNA: being worker-centered. As I keep repeating in this space, at our store our booksellers come first. If you’ve identified any sort of shift in inventory focus, it’s not the result of us trying to anticipate the next big thing. Ours is a controlled chaos, but it’s still too chaotic for that. When we’re at our best, it’s the work of booksellers pursuing a curiosity, chasing a delight, or making a statement. This freedom is how I came to buy the store, and this mixture of personalities and pasts is why it’s thriving today.
I take utmost pride that we are a place where booksellers want to be booksellers and where you’ve chosen to buy books. Because you (with your personalities and your pasts) are part of the mix that makes this a special place. Trying to sell our tastes and interests is great, but actually doing so is what makes it all possible.
Is there somebody at East Bay Booksellers who really “gets you”? Swing by this weekend and let us know! We're debuting a limited-edition anniversary t-shirt (available online now!) and there will be special giveaway drawings all weekend (9/2-9/4). No promises, but I’ve also been known to make a strong celebratory mimosa. So please, come celebrate with us!
Cheers, one and all --